Smart streetlights save Christchurch ratepayers $1.5m a year

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Smart streetlights save Christchurch ratepayers $1.5m

Smart streetlights save Christchurch ratepayers $1.5m

The city has been working to convert all of the city’s streetlights to LED smart streetlights and reports that it has so far reduced its annual street lighting power consumption by more than 70 percent.

The switch to more energy-efficient LED smart streetlights in the New Zealand city of Christchurch is reportedly saving ratepayers more than $1.5m a year in electricity and maintenance costs.

The council claims the city has also reduced its carbon emissions by more than 1,150 tonnes a year.

Smart lighting journey

The council has been installing LED streetlights in new subdivisions and in areas where it is undertaking roading improvements since 2012.

In late 2017, an accelerated delivery program was set up in order to maximize an 85 percent funding subsidy being offered by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

“We are working to convert all of the city’s streetlights to LEDs because they are more energy efficient, last longer, and require less maintenance,’’ says Christchurch City Council acting head of transport Lynette Ellis.

The new LED streetlights direct all their light in a downward direction, meaning there is less light spilling into the surrounding environment and the night sky compared with the older forms of street lighting.

“We have changed out more than 28,000 streetlights as part of the accelerated program and already we are seeing the financial benefits of the switch to the lower powered LEDs. We have reduced our annual street lighting power consumption by more than 70 percent,’’ said Ellis.

“We have also reduced our carbon emissions by more than 1,150 tonnes a year, which is significant as the council has committed itself to become net carbon neutral by 2030.’’

Ellis said the citywide conversion of NZTA subsidized lights to LEDs is nearly complete.

“We have also reduced our carbon emissions by more than 1,150 tonnes a year, which is significant as the council has committed itself to become net carbon neutral by 2030’’

This will leave around 2,500 lights still be converted to LED out of the nearly 44,000 that the council has on its streetlight network. These lights are planned to be upgraded to LED over the next three years.

Ellis added: “Delays in international freight caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have slightly pushed out the timeframe for completing the accelerated delivery program of NZTA subsidized lights. At the end of June, we had swapped out 97 percent of the lights.

“We expect to have the remaining three percent switched over to LEDs by the end of September.’’

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